Blog Slacker

Is there a term for a blog writer who doesn’t write often enough? I had good intentions, but I kept putting things off & thinking I would write later. Now, here I am a year after starting this thing & have only a few posts. I do admit that procrastination & lack of follow through have plagued me through much of my life.

On Sunday, I finished my business bookkeeping for 2011 & did our taxes.  That’s right, folks, February 5th! Overcoming the fear of doing them myself was resolved last year with H&R Block software & online support. Now we are waiting for our refund to be deposited. Plans are afoot for home & yard improvements! I will take pictures!

I hereby resolve to get with it!

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Timing & Yarn

Today I played hooky! I had an eye appointment planned but it didn’t work out. The planned appointment coincided with my mother’s birthday, so north I had to go!

I figured it would be a good day to explore a few flea markets on the way, check out the yarn store at Nixa that I still haven’t visited & maybe shop for a few spring clothes. An early start would help with the plan. It didn’t happen.

Finally got on the road & enjoyed seeing all the dogwoods in bloom along the roads with the multitude of shades of green in the grasses & trees. Have I mentioned that spring in the Ozarks is one of my favorite things?

With one thing & another, I didn’t get to Springfield until late afternoon, so I decided to visit A New Yarn in the Brentwood Center. Apparently it has been open a while, but I’d missed it. Nice place! Friendly people & beautiful yarns. I did resist some, but got some necklace materials.

But, the most wonderful thing was seeing one of the people who most influenced my teaching career! Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a customer come in who clearly was a regular & knew the ladies sitting up front knitting. She then went to look at the needles & the owner asked if she could help Meredith find something. I looked up & it was Dr. Meredith Adams!

She was my absolute favorite college professor! (Sorry other guys, I liked many of you too.) I told her my name & she seemed to remember me. We chatted for a minute & then I went on to check out & she went to look at patterns for a lace shawl. That’s way beyond my knitting skill level! I never knew she was a knitter & I wasn’t  one in college. What a lovely encounter!

So, Dr. Meredith Adams, I thank you for your inspiration & love of history that I have used in my teaching. I took every class that she taught & really wished there had been more. Western Civ, Women’s Studies & German History & then, WHAT???? No more classes with Dr. Adams? I enjoyed her genial attitude & her wry humor kept me interested & wanting to learn more social history. The measuring tape demonstration for 18″ waists is one I borrowed from her.  Later I had classes with her husband & Dr. David Adams was on my master’s committee. His sense of humor & style also provide examples for me to use.

If I had done the other things planned & gotten an earlier start, I would have missed this moment. I’m so glad I didn’t miss it!

It’s Good to Have Friends & Clients

If you are lucky, you have people who come into your life & make a difference in a multitude of ways. Encouragement, inspiration, trust, sympathy, empathy, laughter, shared rage, doubts, joy, etc………………………..

I’m lucky to have The Lady Sharon from Birmingham! We spent several years together teaching & sharing interests outside of school. She was one of my first repeat jewelry customers & has been very supportive of my efforts. So I thought I would share some of our journey as designer & client.

As I started taking a serious approach to making jewelry, people saw what I was wearing & expressed interest in buying things or having me make a custom piece for them. Sharon had an arrowhead that a student gave to her & she wanted to be able to wear it & honor the memory of that teaching experience. We discussed a few ideas & I went to work.

I get a kick out of seeing this one & knowing what I would do differently now. But, it was special & Sharon wears it with pride

Then a necklace for her daughter’s Christmas gift.

And another….

Then a request that really scared me! Sharon’s father was a SeaBee in the Pacific during World War II. He brought home several beads & a cat’s eye shell that is a beautiful green with gold accents. She wanted me to make it into a necklace that would really show it off. Yikes! What if I broke it? How do I get it to hang without putting a hole in it? What other beads will coordinate with her pieces? What if I break the shell????

After searching for the right colors & trying various strategies, I made a nest of gold wire that is epoxied to the back of the shell. Gold mother-of-pearl rectangles with green accents & India glass beads brought it all together. I was pleased with the results & Sharon was THRILLED! Tears, even. Is there a better compliment on that kind of job?  I loved doing that one! The history behind it was really special & I will tell you about another WWII piece later on.

Next was a necklace of Venetian glass beads that had been broken for a long time. First I put in on silk cord with a pearl clasp. It was too short & the clasp was hard to deal with.

Then I put it on wire with seed beads between each glass one in place of the knots. A ring & toggle clasp is easier to fasten. But it still didn’t look right & was a strange length……

Cut apart again, took artistic license & added some blue beads that are the same color as the accents in the Venetian beads. Put large seed beads between the glass in front & smaller ones at the back. But, would she appreciate the blue? Yes, she did! I think it looks great & Sharon is happy to have another reclaimed treasure.

Sharon retired & I miss seeing her & sharing all those things mentioned at the top of this post. Thank goodness for the internet & email! This was her retirement present, titled “May All Your Pencils Be Black” in honor of her years as an English teacher.

What will be next in this adventure? I’m looking forward to it!

Check out Sharon’s publishing website: http://happenstancebooks.com/

Giving Is Good For My Spirit!

Really! Sometimes I just want to give something to someone because it makes me feel good. Is that selfish? Or generous? Either way, I don’t give something because I want something in return, I do it because……because……….because….. just because!

I am one of those creative types who keeps stuff because you just never know when it might be useful! So many ideas of things to make or do & years can go by without using those shoeboxes full of grosgrain ribbon bows or old lace. Not enough mindless hoarding that a reality show would be made about me, but enough to know that I’m just not going to use everything.

Storage Carts

 

Through the years I’ve passed on items to Barb to use for 4H or scouts or other groups of kids. Other piles go to art teachers since they never really have enough supplies for all of their students. I take turns cycling through the thrift stores in the area: Doggy Shop, Christian Associates, Echo,  St. Vincent, St. John’s Auxilary & so on. School groups holding yard sales & the LUC Boys’ Ranch all need help & it’s a benefit to me to get stuff out of my house. Tax deductions too!

This year I decided to do something more meaningful to the recipients.

First up is my dear friend, Catelyn. I watched her grow up when her mom taught at our school & was in the room next to me for several years. They moved when Cate was a senior, but we’ve managed to stay in touch sporadically. A while back an engagement announcement for Catelyn & Luke was posted on Facebook. She & a friend exchanged information about wedding decorations & cool things found on Etsy. Many of them involved lace & pretty beading. Hmmmmm, I have lots of old lace, beaded pieces & hankies, gloves, flowers, pearls & other wedding type things that have just been sitting on a shelf. I got a bunch of them together, packed in a lovely old tin & shipped off to Cate at college in Texas. She didn’t have a clue that it was on the way.  I missed her call, but it was clear that she was delighted & overwhelmed by the gift. Yes!!! She promises pictures of the things she is doing. I finally got to talk to her today & she is having a ball making decorations & things for her wedding. Love it!!!

Next, I cleared out some fabric of mine & Betty’s. Another of my former students, Ashley, is creating neat clothes & accessories as a fundraiser to help them adopt a baby from Ethiopia. She has been posting wonderful pictures of decorated t-shirts, onesies & accessories . They are really cute! I went through my oversized stash of material & pulled out 2 boxes worth of stuff to send to her. I just told her a package was on its way……..

She wrote a cool blog post about it.

http://smithfamilylowdown.blogspot.com/2011/03/very-cool-gift.html

I don’t remember the caring incident, but I’m very glad she does!

The first picture Ashley posted of something made with the fabric is an apron given away on her blog & the winner was another former student also named Ashley! 2 for 1!! And this Ashley is anxiously awaiting the birth of a child they are adopting. Lots of happiness for Ashley #2.

Ashley's Apron for Ashley

In the previous post, I sent the first pair of mitts to my niece, Skye, in Montana. I also sent her a bunch of art papers, iron-on transfers & other things she can use for her art projects.

So, I have lessened my load of excess & shared it with those who will enjoy it & use the stuff. Win – win.

And I get my spirits lifted because of their joy!

Gallery

Let’s Call These St. Patrick’s Gifts

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Like many creative people, I LOVE to start projects, but don’t always finish them 😦  Some people call them UFOs – unfinished objects. Sometimes they are actually “works in progress” instead of “unfinished”. There is a difference! Somewhere I have … Continue reading

Other Aspects of Life

The last two weeks included snow & sun along with growth & loss. I was able to spend time working on things at home & reading for fun during our snow days. Two weeks with only one work day is a pretty sweet schedule! I enjoy snow days even when I know we have to make them up later.

Here’s a view of one of my garden decorations taken after the first round of snow.

The loss portion is the passing of my mother-in-law, Betty Vader. She had been in ill health and a great deal of pain for several years, so the peaceful close of her life was a blessing in many ways. We will all miss her sense of humor & love for her family. Her severe hearing loss resulted in many misunderstandings & what we fondly called “Betty News” when her news reports had the facts rearranged in her own style. She loved seeing things I was working on & enjoyed handmade gifts since she had enjoyed sewing & other crafts.

When Betty had to move to assisted living, we bought her house (very close to ours) & use it as a guest house & studio areas. Ray has his beadmaking torch set up & I have my sewing studio. I painted the dark walls & decorated the studio area using a mix of new items & some of Betty’s things. That’s her jewelry box on top of the desk & sewing box on the floor to the right.

She got a real kick out of the decorating & thought it would be a lovely place to work. I have not spent as much time working here as I wish I could, but will spend some time this spring & summer working on clothing & accessories.

My favorite decoration is a portrait of Betty taken in 1954.  I call it the movie star picture. She was a sweet mother & mother-in-law who will be missed.

February 7 – Sean Day

Another snow day in the Snozarks! Forecasting more snow this week too. That means I keep my creative hat on & leave the teacher hat on the peg. However……… I’ve been procrastinating about grading some papers, so perhaps I should make that a priority today. Then back to some creativity!

This is Sean Day, 22 years ago my son, Sean, was born. Due to multiple issues, we only got to have him for 2 1/2 years. Sometimes that seems like another life time and sometimes it is still just like yesterday. I enjoyed the creativity of making clothes for him & sharing his smiles through photographs. This is one of my favorites – his 2nd birthday.

More to come………… this blog will challenge me to write more often & hopefully it will help me develop more creative writing.

SuZanne